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Google Announces Development Kit for a Tablet with Advanced Vision Capabilities

by Sergio De Simone on Jun 12, 2014 |

Google has announced the availability of Project Tango Development Kit, which should allow developers to make applications that track full 3-dimensional motion and capture surfaces in the environment. Tango development kit, created in collaboration with NVDIA, includes the new Tegra K1 mobile processor and aims at providing a platform designed for computer vision and 3D sensing.

Project Tango is a smartphone and tablet project by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP), formerly a division of Motorola. Project Tango has the goal "to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion." According to Google, "awareness of space and motion is fundamental to the way we interact with our environment and each other... Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen."

Project Tango 7" development kit is powered by the new NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor packed with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, motion tracking camera, integrated depth sensing, WiFi, BTLE, and 4G LTE. The device is not a end-user product, and according to The Wall Street Journal, Google "plans to produce about 4,000 of the prototype tablets beginning next month."

Last February, Google distributed to selected developers a prototype made of an Android smartphone-like device which tracks the 3D motion of the device, and creates a 3D model of the environment around it. One of the first applications built on that prototype was a University of Pennsylvania project aimed at seeing how it could help piloting a drone to which it was physically attached.

According to Tech Republic's Conner Forrest, by releasing its early prototypes to developers, "Google is following one of its typical strategies for product development" relying "heavily on developers to find useful applications." One such application could be helping build out map data by crowdsourcing some of the data gathered from these devices, although this can raise privacy concerns, goes on Forrest, since there is "the question of whether or not Google would be able to 3D map the inside of your house."

Interested developers can sign-up to be notified when the Project Tango Tablet Development Kit goes on sale later this year for $1,024.

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